Cycle paths unsafe?

drossall
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby drossall » 15 Sep 2010, 12:02am

Surely the point is that, on average, even well-designed facilities are less safe than the road? Therefore facilities are very limited as a way of improving safety. They may help at a gyratory, but not overall.

This is not a case of poor UK design - the results in the original post are international.

However, facilities clearly attract novice cyclists, and thus indirectly improve safety, because it's fairly clear that increased cyclist numbers decrease individual risk.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 15 Sep 2010, 12:12am

George Riches wrote:Are the UK DoT guidelines much different than the Austrialian? Are the published Sustrans standards much different?


Those documents from Australia look dreadful - and encapsulate the worst of UK practice. The philosophy is exactly the reverse of the hierarchy of provision - ie cyclists must be placed on separate lanes - and those separate lanes are designed to avoid at all costs causing any disruption to the flow of motor vehicles.

Look at the illustrations:
Narrow cycle lanes in the door zone.
Gutter hugging cycle lanes that double as parking spaces.
Cycle lanes skirting the perimeter of multi-lane roundabouts.
Advanced stop lanes half the length of UK minimum and with a resevoir that only extends across a LH filter lane.
"Desirable" minimum dimensions that are worse than most UK authorities implement.

The first two chapters of LTN 2/08 are actually pretty good. These lay out general principles of design, and the space requirements of cyclists. Unfortunately, these requirements are not followed through to subsequent chapters which detail specific designs. Rather than start from scratch and specify cycle facilities that meet the needs of cyclists they simply rehash existing poor standards from Cycle Friendly Infrastructure (for example 1.5m cycle lanes when cyclists need 2m).

The Sustrans Standards for the NCN came out shortly after Cycle Friendly Infrastructure - but are rather poorer. Rather like the Australian guidelines the aim is to enable engineers to implement cycle facilities in places where there is inadequate space. Thus all the examples show segregated facilities designed down to the absolute minimum.

Isn't the real problem that making paths up to standard costs too much? So the proponents of cycle paths are faced with the dilemma; either a path which doesn't meet the standards or no path.


The real problem is that DMRB takes the poisition that cyclists should always be placed on segregated paths. (ie the reverse of the hierarchy of provision). It follows from this that no consideration whatsoever is paid to the needs of cyclists in the design of roads - since it is assumed that cyclists will be riding somewhere else.

james01
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 15 Sep 2010, 9:09am

Pete Owens wrote:The real problem is that DMRB takes the poisition that cyclists should always be placed on segregated paths. (ie the reverse of the hierarchy of provision). It follows from this that no consideration whatsoever is paid to the needs of cyclists in the design of roads - since it is assumed that cyclists will be riding somewhere else.


..and this can lead to the urban nightmare future, where cyclists(and walkers) are ghettoised onto compulsory facilities, leaving motorists with motorway-style clearways through towns. And how long before this will extend to rural roads? We're already seeing some non-motorway rural A-roads banned to cyclists.

TheJollyJimLad
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby TheJollyJimLad » 15 Sep 2010, 9:16am

james01 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:The real problem is that DMRB takes the poisition that cyclists should always be placed on segregated paths. (ie the reverse of the hierarchy of provision). It follows from this that no consideration whatsoever is paid to the needs of cyclists in the design of roads - since it is assumed that cyclists will be riding somewhere else.


..and this can lead to the urban nightmare future, where cyclists(and walkers) are ghettoised onto compulsory facilities, leaving motorists with motorway-style clearways through towns. And how long before this will extend to rural roads? We're already seeing some non-motorway rural A-roads banned to cyclists.


Where's that happening?

The Highways Agency have certainly upgraded many A roads to dual carriageways through the years - motorways in all but name. If you mention that there's no provision, they'll point to the soft verge and the signage they have across slip roads. It's laughable.

james01
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 15 Sep 2010, 11:21am

TheJollyJimLad wrote:[Where's that happening?

.


An example:

http://www.capitasymonds.com/projects/a ... _a470.aspx

The A470 ban means cyclists are obliged to use an inferior winding track.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Pete Owens » 15 Sep 2010, 11:43am

TheJollyJimLad wrote:
james01 wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:The real problem is that DMRB takes the poisition that cyclists should always be placed on segregated paths. (ie the reverse of the hierarchy of provision). It follows from this that no consideration whatsoever is paid to the needs of cyclists in the design of roads - since it is assumed that cyclists will be riding somewhere else.


..and this can lead to the urban nightmare future, where cyclists(and walkers) are ghettoised onto compulsory facilities, leaving motorists with motorway-style clearways through towns. And how long before this will extend to rural roads? We're already seeing some non-motorway rural A-roads banned to cyclists.


Where's that happening?


A50 through Stoke, A55 Queensferry, A40 - Cheltenham to Gloucester, A249 across the only bridge to the Isle of Sheppey.....
The Highways Agency have certainly upgraded many A roads to dual carriageways through the years - motorways in all but name. If you mention that there's no provision, they'll point to the soft verge and the signage they have across slip roads. It's laughable.


Quite...
That is what happens when the "cyclists must be segregated" argument gets the upper hand.
As far as the highway engineers are concerned this means that cyclists should be somewhere other than on the road they are designing. They really don't care where that other place is so long as it doesn't interfere with the flow of motor traffic - in places the DMRB is fairly explicit about this and encourages designs that they know to be cycle hostile in order to discourage road use by what they consider inappropriate vehicles.

Now if this practice was restricted to major trunk roads it wouldn't be much of a problem. These are designed to serve long distance journeys of the type cyclists tend not to make - the routes tend to bypass the centres of population where cyclists live so there is an issue is the severance they cause to cyclists trying to cross them. (yes, I know people will throw up occasional examples where the trunk road is the only route available, but as a general rule this isn't the case) If you were going to construct long distance inter-urban cycle paths the last place you would want to put them was in close proximity to to a noisy polluted trunk road.

The real problem with the DMRB is that it isn't just used to design trunk roads, but the philosophy extends right down to the local streets where cyclists, pedestrians, children, old people and so on should in a civilised world be able to move about freely. Instead we see segregation - barriers, blue signs, cattle pens, all intended to keep us in our place out of the way of the important traffic.

Our best hope is the fairly recent "Design Manual for Streets" - which puts a more people oriented philosophy to urban street design - but the highwaymen are resisting the extent and scope of this - it was noticably watered down between the consultation draft and the published version.

TheJollyJimLad
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby TheJollyJimLad » 15 Sep 2010, 11:50am

Good grief!

I couldn't find any images and I can't comment specifically but I found this article by Max Wallis of the Cardiff Cycle Campaign which I have also seen in campaigning umpteen times

A470 Cycling Ban – key documents
After a long delay, we received about 4 cm thickness of documents in answer to our Freedom-of-Information request.
• instead of an audit trail to back up the statement “it is not considered safe for cyclists to use that specific stretch of road”, we get a bundle of documents
• instead of a checklist or audit trail showing “all relevant aspects (of cycle audit) specifically aimed for cycle track provision was covered”, we got nothing
• for records of meetings with Sustrans over the Ban and formal reports of work done under contract, we got refusal on grounds of commercial confidentiality

What we can say from the wadge of documents if there was no safety assessment, merely a video of traffic using the A470 that caught a single cyclist crossing a left-entering slip road. The engineers decided that looked unsafe and could cause delays to traffic sodecided a ban was the “best option”.

They did decide there would be an adverse effect on cycling clubs, with whom they would consult – but the documents show this was never done. The Exhibition in Tongwynlais in October 2003 was followed by a report of local views, but no cycling clubs. Our Campaign was told – we could have attended the Exhibition. In fact Bob Laing did happen to spot it, but his critical comments were reported as “prohibition for safety reasons… was generally accepted”. The ‘consultation’ report added that queries about routes through the Coryton interchange were addressed. Yet other papers show Cardiff's Cycling Officer was discussing these with WAG and Sustrans from October 2002. And no-one informed the Campaign till Bob happened along a year later. So we don’t know who to blame for the claimed “high standard route” containing substandard sections eg. around the Radyr/Ynys Bridge interchange or through the Moy Road industrial estate. It is clear that the impossible, heavyweight barrier at Taffs Well Rugby Club was added at a late stage. Though supposed to be a speedy “commuter route”, the petty engineers justified sections up and down pavement and the awkward slope/barrier onto Moy Road by saying most users would be ‘leisure’ cyclists. We don’t know if Sustrans agreed, but their
priority was getting the trail along the old railway track to the Nantgarw interchange that they’d purchased. In conclusion, we’ve found old-style bureaucrats who assert all is fine without a process audit and ignoring requirements on cycle audit.
And when exposed, those at the top assert that 'commercial confidentiality' over-rides the public interest. If anyone would like to look through the bundle of documents, do contact me! It includes some information over plans to continue to Glamorgan University and Pontypridd.
Apparently no cycling groups are being consulted over it.


And Pete Owens - I should have simply said 'follow the Dutch cycle Infrastructure model' as opposed to full segragation.

How can we bring people to account for authorising the dangerous dross that passes for British Cycle Infrastructure?
How can the consultation process be improved?
How can we declare cycle infrastructure 'unfit for purpose'?

james01
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby james01 » 15 Sep 2010, 11:59am

[quote="Pete Owens
Now if this practice was restricted to major trunk roads it wouldn't be much of a problem. These are designed to serve long distance journeys of the type cyclists tend not to make - the routes tend to bypass the centres of population where cyclists live so there is an issue is the severance they cause to cyclists trying to cross them. (yes, I know people will throw up occasional examples where the trunk road is the only route available, but as a general rule this isn't the case) If you were going to construct long distance inter-urban cycle paths the last place you would want to put them was in close proximity to to a noisy polluted trunk road.

.[/quote]

Hmm... I agree that I'd usually choose a quiet safe route rather than a noisy dangerous one, other things being equal. But it should still be our right to proceed along any public thoroughfare (OK, excluding motorways). And as a long distance tourer it unfuriates me to think I can be in a situation where I can see my destination town on the horizon and a main road leading straight to it, but I'm legally obliged to seek out (at some difficulty) an inferior cycle route.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 15 Sep 2010, 5:43pm

I have also found where no provision is made for cyclists in parts of Europe,the route you are expected to take is not always clear.

It all seems a mess to me, guidelines, no clear legal standards, mixed provision for safety.

I think there is need for the CTC, Sustrans and the DfT to form a working group to improve the situation.

Vorpal
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 15 Sep 2010, 10:48pm

TheJollyJimLad wrote:
james01 wrote:[quote="Pete Owens]
The real problem is that DMRB takes the poisition that cyclists should always be placed on segregated paths. (ie the reverse of the hierarchy of provision). It follows from this that no consideration whatsoever is paid to the needs of cyclists in the design of roads - since it is assumed that cyclists will be riding somewhere else.[/quote]

..and this can lead to the urban nightmare future, where cyclists(and walkers) are ghettoised onto compulsory facilities, leaving motorists with motorway-style clearways through towns. And how long before this will extend to rural roads? We're already seeing some non-motorway rural A-roads banned to cyclists.[/quote][/quote]

Where's that happening?

The Highways Agency have certainly upgraded many A roads to dual carriageways through the years - motorways in all but name. If you mention that there's no provision, they'll point to the soft verge and the signage they have across slip roads. It's laughable.[/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]


Essex County Council Traffic Management Strategy:

Strategic routes for non-motorised users will be identified and promoted, along with prohibitions where appropriate.
Although strategic routes for cyclists and pedestrians will normally be contained within the local roads, Essex will seek
to restrict cyclists from dual carriageways where alternative safer facilities exist. This strategy will be implemented
for all Priority One County Routes once alternative measures have been identified and installed.

Link to the actual document, here: http://www.essexcc.gov.uk/vip8/ecc/ECCW ... elOid=null

edited formatting
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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drossall
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby drossall » 15 Sep 2010, 11:15pm

Who will determine "safer"? Spearpoint junctions can be a serious risk for cyclists. However, junctions in general are the problem for cyclists, and dual carriageways have fewer of them.

For example, the Baldock bypass goes through a tunnel, so cyclists are banned from that dual carriageway. The old road goes through town, with tens and tens of junctions and driveways. On the dual carriageway, there is one.

Whilst the old road and town are not unpleasant, and there is no specific high risk point that I have spotted, it is inconceivable that it is safer for cyclists to pass through 20, 30, 40 junctions than to use the dual carriageway. It must be the reverse, and hence fail Essex's test*.

But I can't see them applying the letter of their law in that way.

In the same vein, just before the old RTTC started banning racing on dual carriageways, evidence was emerging that, per mile, they had fewer time-trialling accidents. This isn't an argument for racing on a near-motorway in heavy traffic. However, the idea that dual carriageways are inherently dangerous to cyclists fails to consider the full facts.

*For clarity, I don't actually think either route is particularly high risk, and I'd often choose the old road because it's quite pleasant, but my judgement in the light of evidence is that the dual carriageway would be safer.
Last edited by drossall on 16 Sep 2010, 7:50am, edited 1 time in total.

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 16 Sep 2010, 1:21am

I love the cute sketch-maps in Appendix B in that Essex document, showing nice wide "shared use footways" and teeny-weeny narrow cycle lanes the width of handlebars.

Vorpal
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Vorpal » 16 Sep 2010, 11:08am

I've contacte Essex CC a couple of times, asking them to remove cycle lanes that are too narrow, kerbside and/or through the door zone of parking bays. The last response I received was (excerpt):

The route was originally installed as an advisory cycle lane with the longer term aim of providing a shared foot/cycleway on the eastern footway. The provision of the preferred option of the off carriageway facility is dependent on development opportunities going ahead, which to date have not materialised...The carriageway lane widths are also quite narrow and precludes the widening of the existing advisory cycle lane.

Translation: we really want you off the road, but we can't afford to do that right now, so we'll do what we can to get you out of the way of the cars.

Grrr.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

snibgo
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby snibgo » 16 Sep 2010, 11:36am

Yes, that's the tone of that Essex document. "Get cyclists off the roads" is a policy I disagree with, but I have a bigger issue with facilities like dozy lanes that encourage cyclists to put themselves in danger.

Steady rider
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Re: Cycle paths unsafe?

Postby Steady rider » 16 Sep 2010, 12:34pm

It seems if they had been required to work to a standard with a minimum os say 1.2 m width, they could not have installed narrow cycle lanes, 450 mm width has been found to occur, Selby etc. I am not sure nationally we have a good reference for cycle facilities on major roads.

Copied from page 1,

“Rates killed per 100 million km

Urban roads, ‘A‘ roads, Other roads
Car 0.2, 0.1
cyclist 4.7, 0.5
Motorcyclist 8.4, 5.3

Rural roads, ‘A‘ roads, Other roads
Car 0.5, 0.6
cyclist 24, 3.2
Motorcyclist 17, 12

For cyclists and motorcyclists non-A roads are safer per distance traveled. The ratio for rural A roads to other roads for cycling is about 8 to 1. These figures may reflect the rate of being overtaken to some extent.”

If the relative risk level is this high then a new look at standards and providing for cyclists on major A type roads could be worthwhile. Improvements are required rather than restricting access. Access and crossing slip lanes on A roads/dual carriageways is one area that could be improved.

Idea, CTC AGM motion,
The CTC seeks improvements to cyclists safety in general and to assist with this, requests the DfT to provide a ‘Design Standards for cycling facilities on rural A roads’. Additionally the provision of cycling facilities should be provided on major rural A roads.

Reasons:
1) To ensure all new and improved major A roads are suitable for cycling, avoiding the desire to try and prohibit cycling from what is often the most direct routes.

2) To reduce the accident risk to cyclists

3) A ‘Design Standard’ would ensure that facilities provided were designed to a suitable specification, not too narrow for example.

Obviously for those totally opposed to nearly any sort of cycling facilility this will not suit, but if implemented over time may ensure cyclist have full access to nearly all roads, plus they may be safer and have direct routes where needed.